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Dealing with Panic Attacks



It has been too long since I last wrote.  

I started college for the first time a couple of years ago. Things were going well, I had moved onto campus and was living in an apartment with a roommate. For most of the time I had the apartment all to myself as my roommate was rarely home. I think she was living with her grandma or something. Anyway, I preferred to live alone. I was doing ok with classes and working as a student employee as a tutor in the writing lab. I was meeting new people, forming new friendships. It was getting easier to be around guys without having panic attacks. Then, at the end of March 2019, I injured my back and everything fell apart. My parents moved me back home with them, I had to quit school and my job. I was bedridden for over a month and was in terrible pain. I couldn't sit, stand or lie on my back without unbearable pain. I fell into a deep depression and was the closest I'd ever come to wanting to end it all. I wasn't thinking a ways to end it, just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. I am grateful for the support of my family, my close friends and my church family. I don't think I would have made it without them.

I went through 15 weeks of therapy. half of which was in a heated pool. I also had injections to the spine two different times. The first time was a bit traumatic. I hate needles, so was apprehensive about that. But I think what bothered me most was that my doctor was male. He had to pull my pants down a few inches to access where he needed to do the injections. I was fighting a panic attack and was breathing rapidly. He noticed and told me to take deeper breaths. I knew he had no idea of what was really triggering the attack, and I was not about to tell him. There were two female nurses in the room, so it wasn't like he was going to do anything to me, but my body didn't seem to understand that. The nurse was so kind and encouraging, giving me juice and graham crackers after settling me in the recovery cubical. Again, I didn't explain why I'd had the attack. When talking with a friend later about how I wasn't looking forward to the next appointment for my second injection, she suggested a few things to try, like using some essential oils to help calm my nerves. I used the oils and wore a bracelet that I wear when I am struggling as it gives me something to hold as a grounding technique. The second appointment went much better. I knew about those techniques, but sometimes we need to have someone remind us when we are struggling. When fighting a panic attack, our brains seem to quit working, incapable of forming coherent thoughts, much less remember info stored away. My counselors have talked about practicing grounding techniques, like deep breathing, etc. I had at first, but then let it slide as I seem to get better. This is something I need to work into my daily routines. That way, the next time an attack is triggered, I'll instinctively know what to do.  


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